The study of digital electronics is all about electric circuits, and how signals of on/off (1/0) can be turned into complex logic. Many devices around us run on digital electronics – the classroom clock, the fire alarm, many digital clocks, microwaves, etc. When digital engineers tackle problems in digital electronics, they need to focus on the following process:
- Define the Problem
- Calculate and Design a Solution
- Simulate the Solution
- Breadboard the Solution
- Test & Evaluate
- Communicate Results
Not surprisingly, the task of digital engineers follows a path very similar to the engineering design process we’re used to. The biggest difference is that the digital electronic process requires more mathematics and simulation. In this first unit we’ll get an introduction to the process by doing three big things:
- STEP 1: Learn the basics of simple circuits and practice the calculations that go along with digital electronics
- STEP 2: Get an introduction to our computer simulation and the practice of breadboarding circuits
- STEP 3: Build a small digital project by following a kit to solder a working random number generator as “digital dice”
When you’re done, you will have seen the whole digital electronics process and built a small project. Don’t worry, the questions about the little details will be answered throughout our year’s class!
Electricity Equations Reference
The beginning, our class starts with the very basics of circuit design. In this part of the unit, you’ll spend a day building some simple circuits with lights and a breadboard by following some clear instructions. After that, you’ll get to investigate the kinds of components we’ll work with, and then do some simple calculations for resistance, voltage, and current. These ideas will start very simple, but as the year progresses they’ll be an essential part of the work we do!
GRADING & PROCESS
Watch the video on Basic Circuits and take a full page of careful notes.
Watch the video on Analog Components and add to your previous page of notes. Be sure to look through the Analog Component Reference!
Watch the video on Hand Calculations and make sure to write down good notes about Ohm’s Law, and Total Resistance in parallel and series circuits
Complete the Electronics Calculations Assignment
Digital engineers need to be fluent in the use of mathematics for hand calculations, simulation with computer software like Multisim, as well as breadboarding circuits. By being good at all three of those tasks, engineers can make systems more efficient or create systems that do brand new things. In this part of the unit you’ll get to focus on two key skills: simulation and breadboarding!
GRADING & PROCESS
Watch the presentation on getting started in Multisim, and take a page of good notes!
Complete both practice circuits and measurements in Multisim from the Practice Circuits Assignment, print both of your circuits and tape them into your notebook, adding additional notes around them
Watch the presentation on Breadboarding Basics a well as the Breadboarding Walkthrough and take a page of good notes
Build both circuits from the same Practice Circuits Assignment.
Take the Unit 1 Quiz: Circuit Theory!
Have Mr. Benshoof check-off each simulation and breadboarded circuit as they are completed
Getting Started in Multisim
Digital Dice Materials List
The last part of our introduction focuses on the assembly of a digital project. Digital Electronics engineers work hard to calculate, simulate, design, and eventually build circuits of all kinds. In this part of the unit you’ll get to do the building part as you organize, assemble, and solder a working electronic circuit. For now we’ll just be following the instructions printed on a circuit board, but as we keep working the way that this system functions will be explained.
GRADING & PROCESS
Watch the video on building your Digital Dice
Collect all the needed components by following the materials guide, and find where they each belong on the circuit board
Assemble and build your Digital Dice! Be sure to watch the How To Solder video before soldering
Sketch your completed Digital Dice board in your engineering notebook; label as many components as you can
Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your working Digital Dice & sketch
Digital Dice Overview
Digital Dice Troubleshooting
Final AIC Submission
Part 1 Resources
Part 2 Resources